Corrupt Policia

Overland advice series, 8 of 10:

When planning we had a pretty good sense that bandits wouldn’t kidnap us, the truck frame wouldn’t snap nor would we disappear in the Nicaraguan jungle. But we knew from a bit of previous wandering south of the border that the police in Latin America can be corrupt.

One of the worst was in Ecuador where a young officer on a dirt bike led us down to a dark alley on the wrong side of town. He wore a black face-cover as he listed off his demands. In Honduras an officer holding a shotgun made the internationally recognized hand-gesture of ‘I’ll slit your throat’ before his comrade flagged us down at their road block.  Continue reading

Torres del Paine

We crossed to Punta Arenas, Chile via a rough seas ferry to meet up with our friend Espen. Over a few beers and a fine dinner we grilled him on his experience working in Antarctica for the season. Our interest was piqued but we had to get along before Malin would return from the ice.

We made a beeline for the country’s southern crown jewel, Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. Considered one of the continent’s finest national parks and this the prime season to visit, we were prepared for the crowds after a couple weeks on the deserted back roads of Tierra del Fuego.

The area is famous for unpredictable weather; they have four seasons here like everywhere else but   Continue reading

Victory Lap

Planning, saving, and executing over the last three years meant we had one solitary focus. Now having reached the terminus of the PanAmerican Highway, we suddenly find ourselves without a mission. An eerie yearning pulls at us when we head out each morning. The sun even rises out of the wrong window. For the first time in 13 months we are headed North.

Our plan from here is to explore western Patagonia, making our way home over the next two months. The immediate future holds backpacking Torres del Paine, traversing up Chile’s Carretera Austral, hiking around Fitz Roy, watching over the Moreno Glacier, and trout fishing the Lake District. Overlanding Patagonia, our victory lap, in itself is a journey of   Continue reading

Camping in the Bush

Overlander advice, 7 of 10:

Our first bush camp was on the tip of Baja.  We heard from a several experienced boondockers about Playa Tecalote.  This beach had no services, no fees, and no fences or watchmen to keep out those evil-doers.  It was nothing but undisturbed beach.  About the third person to bring it up described it to us as “a real life Corona commercial.

That was enough for us, we were going to give bush camping a shot.

Approaching the beach we shifted into four wheel drive and approached a small group of dispersed RVs and camper vans.  Popping up the camper we were sure to have the grizzly mace at the ready.  Over the next   Continue reading

Searching for an End

The day we left San Francisco we didn’t know there was a Ushuaia. We didn’t know about Route 3, Tierra del Fuego, or what lay at the end of the PanAmerican Highway. We only knew that one day we would get there.

Because the reactions to our goal were so contrary, we eventually stopped telling people our plans at all. By December 2010 when asked about our future, the response was reduced to one word, either moving or traveling. Mentioning Latin America, driving, or the PanAmeircan Highway put us on the receiving end of long-winded speeches filled with doubt and concern. The people that believed in us could be counted on our own four hands.

As it turns out there   Continue reading

Truckin’ Down Coastal Route 3

New Year’s Celebration

We struck south from Buenos Aires with two things in mind: sun and surf. We had Necochea circled. The guidebook billed this location as the best surf in Argentina. It was to be our first New Year’s celebration south of the equator and what better way to kick of 2012 than with a dawn patrol surf session.

We pulled into town as everyone was preparing for the big celebration. Looking into the town’s many campsites we settled on ‘Camping El Gringo’ where the Italian owners versed us on an Argentine NYE. It was just like the 4th of July we missed back home: Beach time, brews, BBQ, and fireworks.

Long Haulin’

But the party didn’t stop January   Continue reading

Love Drunk

She’s whispering hurried goodbyes in between barely containable sobs. A fresh stream of tears moistens my own cheek as she embraces me with the tender physical emotion only a mother can produce. All day we tried not to think of this teary departure. Gripping my shoulders and with a downright soul shaking desperation in her eyes, she asks me to look after her son. I am in full throttle brave face mode. I will absolutely look after Logan. There is nothing to worry about. We’ll be home before you know it.

Then the taxi pulls away from the curb, their waving hands and sad smiles disappear around the corner. Total devastation. Instantly I am a pile of tears and half   Continue reading

Costs by Country

This is part six of a ten part series we are doing on overlanding advice. Future PanAm overlanders this is for you. They post each Sunday.

We’ve already spelled out our day-to-day budget in our budgeting and costs post, here we have broken costs down by country. Our overall average at the time of posting was $72 per day.

We found the costs below were more a function of our attitude than the country’s price index. For example, Bolivia is cheap but it isn’t half the price of Nicaragua. By the time we hit Bolivia we were in the wilderness-bush-camping, municipal-market-shopping zone. You might be in the dirty martini and live theatre frame of mind when you happen upon   Continue reading

Tasty Treat

When it came time to decide on gifts for our family upon their arrival in Buenos Aires we were firmly decided we wanted to share an experience. For months we had been hatching different ideas about ways to experience a culture together with our family.

Enter Teresita. With a teaching background spanning more than 20 years, a love for all things culinary, and a passion for travel and learning, she is one incredible lady to spend an afternoon with. Upon retiring she decided to open up her kitchen and teach the art of the empanada.

With Teresita’s help, we made our way through a few bottles of wine, a good deal of laughter, and forty empanadas from   Continue reading